Saturday, January 28, 2023

MSDH Releases COVID-19 guidance for K-12 Schools

All teachers and students who are not vaccinated should continue to wear masks indoors, according to the Mississippi State Department of Health’s updated public health guidance for the prevention and control of COVID-19 in Mississippi K-12 schools for the 2021-2022 school year.

MSDH suggests all eligible students, teachers and staff, 12 years old and up, should be vaccinated against COVID-19.

Other guidance offered by the MSDH Friday includes:

  • Masks should be worn indoors in school settings by all individuals (age 2 and older) who are not fully vaccinated. 
  • Schools should maintain at least 3 feet of physical distance between students within classrooms, combined with indoor mask wearing by people who are not fully vaccinated, to reduce transmission risk.  
  • Routine screening testing of asymptomatic unvaccinated students, teachers and staff is recommended as an additional measure to prevent further transmission.  
  • Schools should continue to isolate COVID-19 infected students, teachers, and staff and continue contact tracing to identify exposed individuals for quarantine and exclusion from the school setting. 
  • All students, teachers and staff who have symptoms of any infectious illness, regardless of vaccination status, should stay home from school and be evaluated by their healthcare provider. 
  • As a reminder, fully vaccinated students, teachers and staff: 
    • Do not have to wear a mask when indoors; 
    • Do not have to quarantine or be excluded from the school setting if they have COVID-19 exposure; and 
    • Do not have to be tested unless symptomatic.

Also on Thursday, the Oxford School District sent out an email to parents asking for input on its proposed back-to-school plan that will be voted on by the Board of Trustees later this month.

In the plan, it says that masks are recommended but not required for those who are not vaccinated.

Since the MSDH guidelines are not mandates, it was unknown as of Friday afternoon whether the Oxford or Lafayette County school districts will update their back-to-school plans to follow the MSDH guidelines.

This is a developing story. will post updates as made available.